I'm Leaving, But You Should Absolutely Work at the RFT

Feb 4, 2022 at 12:56 pm
click to enlarge See? You can do all sorts of crazy stuff at the RFT. - RIVERFRONT TIMES
See? You can do all sorts of crazy stuff at the RFT.

The Riverfront Times has openings for a couple of great jobs right now, including mine.

This is my last day at the paper after four years as a staff writer and two and a half as the editor-in-chief. As I go, the paper is hiring a staff writer and editor-in-chief. Both are pretty good gigs.

I started here about a month after moving to St. Louis, and the RFT gave me a reason to explore not only my new home city but just about anywhere in Missouri that seemed interesting. Every day has been an opportunity to try to figure out just what the hell is going on here. That's an unfinished project.

If I felt a little overwhelmed by everything there was to learn, the RFT instantly felt like home. You know how there's that one person at work who you absolutely hate but have to tolerate? After a week at the old Delmar Loop office, it struck me that the RFT didn't have one of those. (Unless it was me? Guys, was it me?) A lot of the crew from those first days is still around, writing some of my favorite stories. Daniel Hill, Danny Wicentowski and Cheryl Baehr have been consistently great since before I ever arrived. And the addition of Jaime Lees, Evan Sult, Jenna Jones and Ryan Krull prove there's something about this place that keeps attracting amazing, talented people.

I have been lucky to work with regular freelancers, such as Evie Hemphill, Theo Welling, Mabel Suen, Mike Fitzgerald and Andy Paulissen, who add so, so much.

When I took over, I was following Sarah Fenske, the best editor I've ever had. Just figuring out how to keep everything going seemed a wild task for a first-time editor like me, but then the pandemic hit and made everything infinitely harder. The worst day of my two decades in journalism came when we had to lay off almost the entire staff, but it was quickly followed by the most heartwarming rally I have seen outside of cheesy, against-all-odds movie plots. I mean, who isn't moved by a ragtag bunch of scamps fighting off destruction? And then so many of you stepped up with donations and encouragement to keep going.

I've got too much to say about all that to deal with here, but read Daniel Hill's war cry from March 2020 and you'll understand.

This is a rough industry, but it's with absolute joy that I look at the RFT and see it roaring back. We've staffed up since those dark days of spring 2020, and more people and investments in the paper are on the way.

To that end, the RFT's parent company recently hired Ben Westhoff, a first-rate journalist (and former RFT staff writer) who is a master of digging deep into tough subjects, as its first executive editor. He will be filling in as editor-in-chief at the RFT while he looks to hire my permanent replacement and I head off to the nonprofit world.

If you're a talented, passionate journalist who also isn't going to be that one guy in the newsroom that everyone hates, please get in touch with Ben. See the official job descriptions below, and thanks for reading the RFT:

St. Louis' Riverfront Times seeks a Staff Writer. The position at this venerable weekly paper, founded in 1977, offers an opportunity to practice journalism at the highest level, while focusing on subjects within your interests. Duties include writing longform cover stories and breaking blog posts. The ideal candidate has experience in both hard news and cultural stories, but candidates from all backgrounds will be considered. Many of today's best-known journalists have worked in alt-weekly jobs just like this one, and the RFT Staff Writer position is an incredible opportunity to make a real impact in a vibrant city, as part of a growing newsroom staff. The competitive, full-time salary also comes with health and life insurance, and matching 401(k) benefits. Please send clips and resume to Euclid Media Group Executive Editor Ben Westhoff, [email protected]

St. Louis' Riverfront Times seeks an Editor In Chief. The position requires writing, editing, and managing both the staff of the newspaper, published weekly, and the web site, which publishes daily. The ideal candidate will have a journalism background, experience with hard news and cultural stories, and be comfortable with both the pace of breaking news and the deliberation of long form. The Editor In Chief is given wide range to steer the paper's coverage in the direction they see fit. A variety of candidates — from all stages of career — will be considered. Founded in 1977, the RFT is one of the most-acclaimed alternative weeklies in the country, and at a moment when much of the media industry is slumping or turning toward advertorial, RFT parent company Euclid Media Group is adding staff and doing real reporting. The salary is competitive, and the benefits package includes health, life, and 401(k) matching. Please send clips and resume to Euclid Media Group Executive Editor Ben Westhoff, [email protected]

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected] (but only for a couple more hours) or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.
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